On September 29, 1975 William D. Krahling, Interim Executive Director of Alpha Tau Omega received a letter from Peggy Betts Richardson. This letter explained that Peggy’s uncle, Frederick C. Philbrick and aunt, Edna Betts Philbrick had left a significant bequest in memory of Frederick to the ATO Foundation. This resulted in the establishment of the Frederick C. Philbrick Scholarship to benefit Gamma Zeta ATOs which has awarded thousands of dollars to Gamma Zeta undergrads over the last thirty five years. The current value of the Philbrick endowment is over $75,000 and we’ll be awarding another $3,300 to a Gamma Zeta undergrad again this year. This was a wonderful gesture by the Philbricks and I’m certain that the recipients of these scholarships over the years have been extremely grateful.
Gamma Zeta has six other scholarships that we award each year, two in honor of Bob Simonds and at least one each in honor and memory of Matt Heldman, J.D. Sinnock, Rich Clausing and Dave Timson. The Gamma Zeta endowment totals nearly $500,000 and we award over $20,000 each year in scholarships. All of these other guys and their stories are well know to us but Fred C. Philbrick remains a mystery.
Here’s what we know. ATO records show that he initiated to Gamma Zeta in 1911. He appears listed as a Freshman in the 1912 Illio Yearbook in the house roster but not in the picture. There isn’t a single mention of him in the Illio or the Daily Illini archives after that. There is no mention of him in the Palm or the Gamma Zeta Newsletters that we could find. There were a couple of hits on his name on the internet but certainly no explanation for his large gift to ATO. All we really have is the brief letter from his niece that is included below.
Why would a guy who very likely only spent one year as an active member of Gamma Zeta donate that much money over 60 years later? We’d love to know more about this brother and what motivated him. If you have any information at all that you can share, please pass it on!